Well it’s been a week since I got back from RWA 2013, and I have to say it was one of the best conferences I attended. Being one of the few men among nearly two thousand women did not intimidate me for a moment; what man wouldn’t like that? For many of them, they were delighted to see a male writer writing romance.
As an RWA conference first-timer, I was forewarned not overdo the workshops and networking and take sometime for R&R. Well, I didn’t do that. Since I stayed at a hotel a few blocks away, I was at Atlanta’s Marriott Marquis for up to 14 hours a day. I went to as many workshops as possible, volunteered at the book fair and socialized with countless writers in the atrium. I learned so much from not only the workshops, but the writers I meet also. Some of the most memorable writers I met included Krystal Wade, JC Hay and Lynsie Buchanan.
Some of the highlights from RWA for me included:
- workshop on avoiding clichés and understanding the parents of characters
- being invited to a local chapter party
- the luncheon which featured Kristan Higgins
Of course, there are somethings I would have done differently at RWA 2013:
- Stayed at the hotel where the conference was being held. It would have been nice to be able to go up to the room and freshen up, then come back down again.
- Joined a chapter before attending the conference. Since the closest chapter to me didn’t meet at suitable times for me, I didn’t join. I felt bad whenever I was asked, “What chapter do you belong to?”
- Stayed in Atlanta a little longer. Unfortunately, I had to get home on the last day of the conference and I wished I could have stayed longer. Atlanta was such a nice city, and I really wanted to visit the State Capitol.
- Brought an extra suitcase. You get tons of free books at the conference, and I could only take six with me home.
- Had my novel finished beforehand. This would have been nice, since there were opportunities to pitch to agents and editors on site. Oh well, there’s always next year.
If you think you shouldn’t go because you’re unpublished, think again. Being unpublished didn’t bother me. I was there to learn more about the writing craft, and the fact that I was writing a novel was good enough. In fact, some of the editors I met at random thought my novel was original and interesting. As one speaker said, “Chapter One is the first step towards finishing that story.” And that speaker was so right. Hopefully, I’ll be able to attend RWA 2014 in San Antonio.